Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ellie is 15 months old!!

My sweet baby girl is 15 months old today, and today is the first day I'm willing to call her a toddler... Because she TODDLES everywhere! The last few days she made the switch from crawling everywhere to walking. It is bittersweet... I'm not ready to admit she's that big already!

This last week Ellie learned to say the word "cracker" and she uses it any time she means food. She signs the word as e says it, and sometimes she even signs please! Ellie attempts to say James, but it comes out as "ga" or "ga-ga." James thinks it's hilarious and imitates her.

In news for James, he is finally (finally!!!) 100% potty trained. We don't remind him, and he's conquered almost all aspects. I'm so happy this is getting better, because it has been 9 LONG months of training!

Anyway, happy 15 months to my baby girl!!

Please ignore James crying in the background of this next one... he was in time out and not happy about it.

James's new bike

Santa brought James a new Disney Planes bike for Christmas... His first real bike! He rode it for the first time outdoors the other day and he LOVED it. He's still working on pedaling, but he's doing great!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

We had a busy Christmas at home today! After a breakfast of monkey bread and turkey bacon, the kids spent all morning opening up gifts from us and Santa. Ellie loved playing with her new Disney princess castle, pop corn popper, and ride-on horse (from my childhood). James got a new Planes bike with a matching backpack that I made, and also some planes and cars. 

The kids had lunch and then a nap/quiet time, and Eliot and I opened our gifts (it's so chaotic when the kids are awake we don't have a moment to open our presents). Eliot got some clothes and books he wanted, and I got the Frozen soundtrack and some books I wanted (plus my favorite shampoo an a book about Disney cruises). 

When the kids got up, James rode his bike around the kitchen while I finished dinner (ham, scallop potatoes, and asparagus) and Ellie had a snack.
We then opened gifts with Eliot's side of the family via FaceTime. Both kids were in love with the Disney klip klop stables, and James liked his new leap pad ultra.

After that, the kids were melting down and wailing throughout dinner because it was so late and we had all had enough, so we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus with my cranberry cake with lemon cream cheese frosting and then had bathtime and bedtime for the kids. 

Eliot and I spent about 2 hours cleaning up the house, which was a total wreck. Then we settled back to watch the Hobbit and relax, finally.

It was so fun watching the kids open their gifts... James was actually interested in it for the first time! Ellie could care less but tried to put all kinds of non-food items in her mouth. 

All in all, a good Christmas. I feel truly blessed.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Ellie is walking!! She started taking a step or two last week, and then she took about 10 steps on December 16th and hasn't stopped since!

Ellie loves to play peek-a-boo with her hands and is picking up words every day. She said "cracker" today, and she loves to do a "come here" sign with her hands when he wants to see someone. She's a little ham and figures out things so quickly, I'm always surprised how fast she learns.

James is yet again obsessed with Polar Express and he always talks about how he has to go to sleep so the polar express can come. :-) His language has exploded, he will mimic anything you say. He is challenging at times because he is a bit jealous of Ellie, but overall he is a sweet boy with a kind heart who always wants to help or make others feel better when they are sad.

As we head toward Christmas, I look around and feel I already have everything could ever want. <3

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Ellie figure out how to use a straw today!!

Friday, November 29, 2013


It was Ellie's second Thanksgiving yesterday, and we had a great time celebrating at home. Nonna came to visit, and since I prepped the food the day before, it was a relaxing day for us all. We watched the Macy's parade in the morning...James liked seeing Santa and the train which he called the Polar Express. Ellie loved the pumpkin pie and ate 2.5 pieces! 

At night Ellie went to sleep and James watched Up with Nonna as Eliot and I went out to shop at the Black Friday (Thursday?) sales. We saved hundreds and had a great time!

Overall a pretty good Thanksgiving.

Ellie is 14 months old today!

Ellie is 14 month old! She said "wawa" for water today, and is practicing "ga" for go and saying Mama all the time (she is super clingy to me right now). She also points at everything and wants to know what it is/touch everything. Ellie is also taking a step here and there and working on her balance. 

I love my sweet little girl!

Baby steps

Ellie hasn't started walking yet, but she is cruising and practicing like crazy. Today at the play gym, Ellie was playing inside a little playhouse and took a small step from one corner to the other without holding on to anything! I think she will get it in another month or so. She looks so happy cruising around... My sweet baby is becoming a toddler!

I've also noticed she communicates a lot more than she used to. She learned the signs for Car and Hat, and when I asked her where her water was, she looked down, found it, and took a drink! She also has tried to say hat and she pronounces the "sss" part of Yes.

James hears me say, "no no, Ellie" when she throws her food on the floor, and now he walks around saying it all the time. It's pretty cute. :-)

Here are a few pics of Ellie practicing her steps!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ellie is 13 months old! Pumpkin Patch Day!

We took a ride out to Lone Pine Farms today to go to the pumpkin patch... James loved riding on the hay-ride pulled by a tractor, and Ellie was fascinated by the hay. Eliot's parents are out visiting with us and came along for the fun!

Here is a photo album of the day:
Pumpkin Patch 2013

And a short clip!

A few notes about Ellie... She started signing "Cereal" and "Thank you" this week as well as learning how to do 3-2-1 blastoff with Nonna. She is cruising the furniture and pushing her car around well, but no walking yet! Also, she has no teeth yet... we are following up with her doc to make sure everything is ok. Overall, she is a smiley, happy little girl who loves exploring, cuddling, and making a mess! :-)

Friday, October 18, 2013

A new table, a new dining era...

The last time Eliot and I bought a table, we were moving into our 300 square foot studio apartment in Pioneer Square, downtown Seattle. I'm pretty sure my dad bought it for us on a trip to ikea, for all of $125 for the set. That was over 7.5 years ago.

Flash forward to today... We have moved 3 times and had two kids. One of those moves broke two of our table legs, for which my dad rigged up a repair. The kids have pounded on it and we've been uncomfortably cramped with guests at our teeny table for YEARS. So, since I've been attempting a "love the one your with" attitude towards our much-too-small house and subsequently redecorating the dining room, I decided enough was enough. It was time to have a REAL table made with REAL wood and everything.

Of course, being the budget-happy Dave Ramsey fanatics that we are, I scoured/stalked Craislist for days, looking for the right table at the right price. And we found it... A table and 4 chairs (with leaf) for $150. And my amazing husband managed to talk them down to $120. Ironically cheaper than our Ikea special and no assembly required this time around.

I decided to reupholster the chairs since they were the only part of the table that looked shabby. So, armed with coupons, I headed for Joanne's and shopped the clearance aisle till I found the perfect home decor fabrics, altogether $17 (and I got about 6 yards so I can make several more things from it).

I set about reupholstering, and this is the before (top) and after (bottom).

This all matched pretty well with the chalkboard paint I put on the walls a week ago. Here are the before and after pics here:

And so tonight I designed and sewed a runner using all that leftover fabric. I had an idea for birds going off into the distance, so that is sort of how it ended up.

So there you have it! A new table. And a new dining room. It will do for now I think. :-)

Oh, and some cute pics of the kids because I can't resist...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The things these kids say...

Tonight, James was excited to see it getting dark outside, and he asked to go see the moon. So this was our conversation outside...
James: Mommy, the moon is full!
Me: Well, almost. You see how that side isn't quite full? It's missing a little piece.
James (looking around and pointing to a star): There's the piece! Yay!

We had a nice walk down the street and back, talking about street signs, the name of our street, how far away the moon is, how the moon and sun rise in the east and set in the west, and how the stars are higher than the airplanes. He was excited to tell me that you need a spaceship to get to the moon, that airplanes don't go there. :-)

Ellie is talking a little bit too. She tried to say "Cracker" today, and she always imitates my inflection when I say things (like night night). Her favorite word this week is Uh-oh. She also signs Milk and All done.

My favorite thing about Ellie right now is that her personality is starting to really show, and she is super-affectionate. She loves to crawl onto my lap and give me hugs and kisses!. She also kisses stuffed animals and hugs them, which is cute. She's obsessed with opening and closing doors, and this past week or so she figured out how to point and now points at stuff often. And pushes buttons.

James is challenging at times... he's decided that No is his favorite word. And he loves watching The Emperor's New Groove on Netflix (or as he calls it, "the one with the llamas and bats") and he's picked up the expression "Fine!" when he's mad, and "No Touchy" which is cute. He's turned into a little sponge, picking up almost anything that is said around him and learning new concepts quickly. I've taught him rhymes for his numbers and letters, and he recites them on his own while tracing his fingers over characters.

James also likes to sing. He favors Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Jesus Loves Me, Five Little Ducks, and whatever song we happen to be working on in a given week. He likes to sing to himself in his bed. :-)

Anyway, it's a joy to hear these kids talk. I'll try to keep posting the cute things they say, because I'm sure I'll forget too soon!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Our Disneyland Trip 2013- Ellie's first trip to see the MOUSE! :-)

In Mid-September we took a family trip to Disneyland to celebrate Ellie's first birthday and have some fun! My dad (aka Papa for this post) and Eliot's mom (aka Mimi) went with us, and Eliot's sister Alison and her boyfriend Andy joined us for the first two days. Despite a nasty stomach bug that worked it's way through the group, we had an amazing time and I can't WAIT to go back!

It was Halloween time at the park, which means they decorate everything in pumpkins and whatnot and re-theme the Haunted Mansion for The Nightmare Before Christmas, Space Mountain becomes Galaxy Ghost, and everything in general has a Halloweeny theme. It was loads of fun and not crowded at all (the benefits of going in the off-season).

I think I will probably break the trip down by days for the highlights, as that way I can keep it all straight! If I got anything out of order or incorrect, forgive me... it's a lot to remember!

Travel TO Disney: We managed to make it through security with our zillion bags and kids in tow, and the plane ride was relatively calm. We entertained the kids the whole 2hr flight as neither one slept, but they were pretty manageable. By the 2hr mark though we were ALL ready to get off the plane! We arrived around dinner time and the kids were little troopers...Ellie fell asleep on our short 20 min Super Shuttle ride to the hotel, so we carefully transferred her sleeping self in her Britax onto the curb from the van and into the hotel. She woke up in the process and we stuck both kids in the stroller and had dinner at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen Express in Downtown Disney. James LOVED this giant eye that was looking through a telescope mounted over the Disney store, go figure. While eating, we heard live Hawaiian music by the very same person whose CD I have at home already and listen to often! It was a great way to kick off the trip. To bed, though, Disney in the morning!

Day 1: Disneyland! I put the kids in Rapunzel and Flynn Rider costumes (from the movie Tangled). We got to the park nice and early, in with the early crowds before the "rope drop" if you will (people wait on main street for the rest of the park to open and then rush to their rides as soon as the official park opening time hits). We made a beeline for Alice in Wonderland.... it was James's first ride, so I made sure it was Ellie's first ride too! I'm not sure she knew what to think of it, but James looked pretty happy sitting with Mimi and Papa. After a spin on the Matterhorn, we met up with Alison and Andy and took a ride in the Teacups (which James was thrilled about, he kept asking to ride them!). After each ride, James kept saying, "I want to go on more rides!" We visited Rapunzel in her house... Ellie kept losing her little stuffed Pascal that I got her for her birthday. The cast members (Disney employees) commented on how James's costume was the best Flynn Rider they had seen, and how adorable Ellie was in her little dress. In fact, we got a lot of comments about the costumes throughout the day!

We did a number of rides that day...Peter Pan (James loved flying in a boat!), It's a Small World (James's favorite for the big clock in front and the things on it that spin... he kept asking to go to the castle with the clock, and that's what he meant), Haunted Mansion (we called it the "Pumpkin House" to make it less scary for James, and he loved it!), Pirates of the Caribbean (James called the drops "going down the slides"), Splash Mountain (we ALL got wet), Winnie the Pooh, Indiana Jones, Jungle Cruise, Tarzan's Treehouse, and last but not least Space Mountain at the very end of the night (which had the Galaxy Ghost thing and was seriously terrifying for me... I can handle the roller coaster, but not the freaky ghost attacking me!). We also had a great lunch at the Hungry Bear Cafe, where we got to watch the train and the steamship go by, and I enjoyed my fried green tomato sandwich and lemon honey bumblebee cupcake!

At dinner that night, we had a chance to celebrate Ellie's first birthday at Cafe Orleans. They brought Ellie some Mickey-shaped beignets and whipped cream, and Mimi got her a cute little pumpkin mug. The tree kept dropping some mysterious squishy berries on us the whole meal, but the food was excellent and the French Quarter ambiance relaxing and peaceful after such a long day on our feet.

The kids slept well that night, as did we!

Day 2: Cars Land Day at California Adventure Park! The kids costumes were Lightening McQueen (James) and a Nemo dress for Ellie. This park has been totally transformed, from the 1930s (40s?) styling of Buena Vista street to the new Cars Land that opened in 2012. We had never seen it before and, let me tell you, Disney has truly outdone themselves. Cars Land is almost an exact replica of the main street of Radiator Springs in the movie Cars. That is where we made a beeline to in the morning... there was a MASSIVE crowd of people headed to Radiator Springs Racers, the big car racing ride, but we sent Eliot to stand in the Fastpass line for it and instead rode Mater's Junkyard Jamboree with James (Eliot made it just in time to ride with us). It is a fun ride where you sit in tractors and they whip you around and you feel like you'll run into other tractors. James was smiling the whole time! We spent the whole morning at Cars Land... Radiator Springs Racers (which James was too short to ride) basically went through the Cars movie plot with a fun high-speed race at the end. It is easily my new favorite ride. James hung out with Eliot and Ellie and watched us race by him, and to this day he still talks about how he watched mommy race! :-)

After getting wet at Grizzly River run, we ate lunch at Flo's V-8 cafe, which was delicious and just so much fun. Then I watched as the others took a spin on Luigi's Flying Tires while Ellie napped in the Ergo on me (she took a lot of naps in our Ergo baby carrier). The flying tires are kind of neat because it is like a giant air hockey table only you are sitting on the tires and have to lean to make them go whatever direction. OH, and James got to meet Mater that day, and Red the fire truck. We tried to meet Lightening McQueen, but every time we tried he was switching with Mater. :-(

In the afternoon we went on the Monster's Inc ride (James LOVED the giant doors outside and visiting "Monsters University", and the kids went to see the Muppets while Eliot, Alison, and I went on the Tower of Terror. Then we went on Soarin', which makes you feel like you are flying over California, and took James and Ellie to see the Disney Jr Live on Stage show, which was fantastic. Basically it is a room full of toddlers and preschoolers sitting on the floor watching their favorite tv show characters come to life. James saw Mickey's clubhouse open up before his eyes and laughed as bubbles, "dabloons" and streamers fell from the ceiling. Ellie enjoyed crawling around on the floor, and I think it was one of their favorite things about the parks. After a quick stop at Ariel's Undersea adventure (where you ride in a clamshell and go "under the sea" and James asked to go on it again) and a brief viewing of the Pixar Play Parade, we headed to eat.

We had dinner at the Wine Country Trattoria, and while the food was good, the service was so slow it took us TWO HOURS to have dinner, effectively ending our evening for us since the parks close at 8pm in the off season. We got some ice cream and coffee at the Ghiradelli ice cream shop and settled in to watch the World of Color show, a water and lights spectacular that is just truly amazing. The kids were tired though, so we left as soon as it ended and headed to bed.

Day 3: Easy day at California Adventure. Ellie wore a Snow white costume and James just wore a Cars t-shirt. James had gotten the stomach bug and had been up sick most of the night, so we took it easy. We went on a lot of rides in Bugs Land, including Fliks Flyers, Heimlich's chew chew train, the Ladybug Boogie, and Tuck and Roll Drive' em Buggies (Papa went on that last one with James, which was James's first time ever "driving a car"!). The kids explored the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, which is like being in the redwoods with all kinds of activities for kids... slides, rope bridges, obstacle courses, etc. Ellie enjoyes standing up a bit while James slid down the "rock slide." We had lunch at the Pacific Wharf area where Ellie posed for her photos as Snow White with a red apple, We also met Donald, went on the California Screamin' roller coaster (which Papa was brave enough to try), went "up up up up in the big wheel!" as James would say, and had Ellie go on her first carousel ride at King Triton's Carousel. Alison and Andy had to leave us then for other adventures, so we braved it alone after that, visiting a few more things in cars land before calling it a day and trying to get the kids to bed early. Ellie wouldn't cooperate though, and Eliot and I were dying for some alone time, so Papa graciously decided to help us with a wailing Ellie (Mimi wasn't feeling well). Eliot and I raced back to the park and had just enough time to get some chili cones at the Cozy Cone motel, eat them in 5 min flat, get our pic taken in front of city hall, and then run to get in line for Radiator Springs Racers right before the park closed. The ride was SO much fun at night, and the whole town was lit up with neon! I wish James had had a chance to see it... oh well, next time!

Day 4: Disneyland again! Ellie was Minnie Mouse and James and Eliot were Sulley and Mike from Monsters Inc. We started out the day in Tomorrowland... Astro Orbiter for me and James! James got to pull back on the stick and make us go up the in the air, or in his words, "we're going way high!" Then we did Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters, which is a fun ride where you shoot at targets with little ray guns. Ellie delighted herself in spinning my and Papa's car around with a joystick while we aimed (I beat Papa... we'll have to have a rematch, dad!) and in the end JAMES beat Eliot! :-)

I think sometime in this day (although it could have been another day or time) we rode on the Pinocchio ride, or "The one with the clocks!" Pinocchio was James's favorite movie at the time we went, and we rode it twice in a row.  We also braved Mr. Toad's Wild ride, and James loved the car! Ellie loved trying to turn the steering wheel. That girl makes me smile. :-)
We traveled over to Finding Nemo's Submarine Voyage, and after going down in a submarine (which James thought was amazing), Eliot took him driving at Autopia, which I heard James loved (how could he not?). Dad and I took Ellie on the Casey Jr. Train. She just LOVED that, she was smiling the whole time. I loved it too... it was so special just to be with her and watch her enjoy herself.

We met up with the others and headed into Toontown. I think this was one of James's favorite places, because there were so many things to explore, and it all looked cartoony and fun! He tried to open every single door in the town, ran up and down Donald's boat and chip n dale's treehouse, and insisted I take him on Gadget's go coaster, his very first roller coaster ride! He wanted to ride it again when we got off but the line was 20 min for a 30 second ride, so we moved on. Eliot and Papa rode on Rodger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin, and we had fun watching James and Ellie run around Goofy's house (Mimi parked herself there in a premium shady spot as she was recovering from her bout of illness). The highlight of the time there for me though was meeting Minnie and Mickey and watching James run through Minnie's house exploring. Ellie visited Minnie's makeup vanity and had a grand old time. We would have gone to Mickey's house but it was closed. Oh, and James loved all the cartoon cars in town... he had to sit in all of them, multiple times.

From there we went to It's a small world (again, for James) and the Tiki Room, where James laughed at the silly eyes on the totem poles and knew the songs well since we'd sung them at home before. For dinner, we ate at the Jolly Holiday Bakery and had some excellent sandwiches with homemade chips while watching people  (and ducks!) wander by through the hub. James was a big helper, helping to throw away any trash I'd give him and then come back. He thought it was a great game.

Eliot and Mimi decided to turn in early since they hadn't been feeling well, and Papa and I decided to run out the clock with the kids to get them good and tired. So we asked James what ride he wanted to do, and we ended up going on Pirates of the Caribbean again (where James said, "I don't want to go down any more slides, ok?" and then to the Haunted Mansion, which was quite a sight at night with all the pumpkins lit up!

We tucked the kids in bed and slept ourselves, although I got sick that night and was awake almost the whole night with a fever.

Day 5: Disneyland park! In the morning, the kids wore Tinkerbelle and Peter Pan outfits, and in the afternoon we all wore matching Mickey and Minnie Halloween shirts that I made.

I don't have too much to say about this day, because I was in a feverish haze and asleep for most of it. Eliot told me they went to Pixie Hollow to meet Tinkerbelle, where James got in trouble with Tinkerbelle when he opened her "secret door" behind her! They tried to find Peter Pan but couldn't locate him. I know they visited Goofy's house, rode on It's a small world again, and did some shopping. They came back for a swim after lunch and I managed to get myself dressed and walk all the way to the park for one group shot of all of us by the castle before quickly picking up a few things at the gift shop and collapsing back into bed at the hotel. We all missed the fireworks and Fantasmic that night, but we managed to get all our stuff packed while James had a sleep over at Mimi's room. So even though we missed a few rides and things we wanted to see/eat, I think overall we did what we could handle with all the illness.

And so there you have it. We flew back the next morning early with no real complications, and Ellie even slept most of the flight. It was exhausting, a whirlwind vacation with two small children (and illness to boot), but it was certainly memorable and fun. Despite getting sick, I think it was a tremendously enjoyable vacation. The memories I have of Ellie smiling with the wind in her hair on Casey Jr, James saying, "Go on more rides!" again and again, riding Splash Mountain with my dad and laughing at getting wet, Flying aorund in Dumbo with Mimi and James while watching him wonder at making us fly, James's face lighting up when he saw Peter Pan for the first time, and riding the Matterhorn with my sweatheart (oh, and the crazy cozy cone chili dash!) are ones I will cherish always.

I can truly say, it was all worth it. <3 p="">
A link to our Disneyland photo album (with new pics I added today!):
Disneyland Favorites

And a TON of videos for you to enjoy! They may take a few minutes to load.

Ellie is ONE!!

My sweet baby girl turned ONE YEAR OLD on September 29th! I know I am a bit late posting about it, but we've had a lot of activity given our Disneyland trip to celebrate (which I will post about in a separate post).

Ellie is growing by leaps and bounds. She has said several words (usually just once, but always surprising when she does), including Eat, Hi, Hey, Birthday (sort of), Uh-oh, That, This, and Mama and Dada.

Here are her stats:
Height- 27.6" (7th percentile)
Weight- 18lbs 7.2oz (30th percentile)
Head- 16.97" (10th percentile)

Ellie isn't walking yet but she does cruise the furniture a lot and will walk a few steps holding onto my fingers. She will scribble on a piece of paper if I give her a crayon, she gets frustrated when things don't go her way, and she gets upset when you take something interesting away from her. Ellie still has no teeth (we are looking into it to see if it is a thyroid problem or just late developing teeth) and only gets up once per night, usually in the mornings.

I love Ellie for the way she is so mellow about most things, and takes the world in stride. She has to deal with James pushing her down and stealing her toys, and she just rolls with it. She smiles at most anyone (unless she's real tired), but doesn't like strangers touching her. Oh, and she is super clingy with me...she will crawl into my lap if I sit on the floor, and if I'm holding her and someone tries to take her away, she wraps her arms around me, tucks her head into me, and won't let go for anything. I know it won't be this way forever and I try to just enjoy the fact that she wants me to hold her (James pretty much just runs away when I try to hold him now!).

To celebrate Ellie's b-day, we first had a party for her at Disneyland at Cafe Orleans restaurant. She was dressed as Rapunzel for the day and was given some Mickey beignets and whipped cream as a special treat. She LOVED the whip cream! Celebrating with her there was Mimi, Papa, myself, Eliot, James, Aunt Alison and her boyfriend Andy. We had a great time singing to her and enjoying the French Quarter ambiance.

Her big birthday party was here at the house (not on her birthday, due to a bad storm we had to delay it a week). It was Minnie Mouse themed and Ellie wore the Minnie dress I made her for Disneyland at the party. We had a fun time celebrating with just the family, playing Clothespin Drop and Guess Ellie's Weight/Height. Ellie loved her blueberry cake, she ate the whole little Minnie mouse I gave her! She also received many great gifts including clothes, books, and toys.

I've made a little album here of some of her b-day pics:
Ellie's First Birthday

And here are some birthday videos!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ellie's first trip to Mt. Rainier and a Mariner's Game!

This past week, we took the kids on a grand tour vacation of the PNW, and though it was exhausting, we had a lot of fun!

First stop was Nonna's house. The kids got to visit with their grandma and great-grandparents and play with all of Nonna's fun toys (saved from my childhood). That night we took James out to see the new Disney Planes movie, which was so fun for him! His eyes were glued to the screen the whole time. He did get tire at the end and asked if we could go to Nonna's house and go to sleep, but we stuck it out till the end.

The next day we headed up to Paradise at Mt. Rainier. It was a long drive and the kids didn't sleep (and Ellie wailed most of the way), so by the time we had checked in and were having a picnic dinner with Auntie Diane, the kids had had enough. To make matters worse, James tripped and fell and hit his nose which started bleeding all over the place. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful location (minus the mosquitoes) and we got through it and put the kids to bed in our room at the Paradise Inn (where James liked to play with the sink for hours, go figure).

The next day was much better. We all took a hike up to Myrtle Falls and enjoyed the flowers along the way. The mountain played peek-a-boo (I forgot to get a good pic of it) and the kids mostly rode in carriers to keep them contained and happy. We were (legitimately) concerned about James falling off a cliff, of which there are many, so he stayed in the Ergo a lot. He did love looking at the water drops on the lupines and seeing a cricket.

We visited the visitor's center, had a picnic lunch with a view of the mountain, and put the kids down for a much-needed 3hr nap. We took another beautiful hike in the afternoon around the other side of paradise on the Nisqually Vista trail where my favorite rock with a hole in it is found. We took some pics and then headed to dinner in the picnic area, where we saw a deer and her two fawns. James loved pushing the button on Diane's car door (though we told him not to) and helped us by bringing things to and from the car. He just had a ball running around outside.

That evening I got to do what I rarely do... have a conversation with my dear Aunt Diane without kids running around! We sat by the fire down in the lobby and had a great time catching up.

The next day we packed up again and headed up to Seattle to meet Papa. The kids did NOT like being in the car, and it was a tough drive. But we made it! We had a surprisingly pleasant dinner at Red Lobster and put the kids to bed nice and early, which was needed for all of us.

The following morning was Mariner's Game day, so after a morning swim for James and Eliot, we packed up yet again and drove to Safeco Field where it was Kid's Day. Ellie got her First Visit certificate and I shopped for a few things for the kids in the store. James loved watching the numbers on the score board, specifically how many balls, strikes, and outs and the MPH for the pitcher since those ones changed the most. He also loved the little Mariner's car I got him. After some hot dogs and pizza, Eliot took Ellie in the Ergo for a 2hr stroll so she could nap, and James watched the game with me and Papa, and had a big smile when he recognized the song from the 7th inning stretch.

After the game (we lost, sadly), we got in a Disneyland-worthy line that wound it's way up to the upper deck so the kids could run the bases on the field! It was AWESOME! Papa ran with James and Eliot ran with Ellie. I watched and will get to go next time. It was pretty neat just being down on the dirt!

We drove the tired kiddos back to Papa's house (James slept but Ellie wailed for 2hrs, which woke him up and made him start singing "Jesus Loves Me" at the top of his lungs to comfort her) and went to bed.

The next day (I know, you're thinking, there's MORE? Yep, we really packed it in!), we went to the Oregon State Fair with Papa, Nathan, Lindy, and cousins Levi and Asher. The kids had a blast playing with a bunch of toys in Toytopia, and we looked at some animals and ate some ice cream. Ellie took another nap in the Ergo while we walked around looking at the exhibits. It was a great time, and afterwards we finally drove HOME, which was nice to see after being gone so long.

Traveling with little children is anything but restful, but it's good for them to get out and see the world, and I love seeing the world through their eyes. I'm so glad we took this trip and that Ellie got to see Mt. Rainier for the first time. Just being there together was enough. :-)

Here are all my favorite pics from the trip, in this album:
Mt. Rainier and Mariners 2013 Favorites

Ellie is 11 months old!!

Ellie is 11 months old today. I know I keep saying time is flying by, but it really is! I still think of her as a little baby who rolls around on the floor, and suddenly she is getting close to toddlerhood. I'm not ready!

Since we will be visiting Disneyland in a matter of days, I thought it appropriate to dress Ellie in the Minnie Mouse peasant dress I made her for her 11 month photo shoot. :-)

Things that are new with Ellie:

She says "Mama" when she is upset and wants me.
She is super clingy and gets really mad when I walk away from her for any reason.
She cruises the furniture and can squat down to pick something up and then return to standing.
She looooooves to get into her brother's toys (especially his cars, which makes him really upset).
She has almost mastered light switches and already effectively operates doors and buttons.
She adores her Daddy and watches him when he walks around the room.
She is REALLY FAST and can get into anything in an instant!
She has no teeth yet (really!).
She eats chunky solid food of all varieties. She's not too fond of mixed veggies, but other than that she will hoover whatever you give her down in seconds. Ellie also is learning how to use a spoon, but she has absolutely mastered all sippy cups (even James's) without much training at all.
She is almost always sleeping through the night now.
She loves to clap when you say clap, wave when you say wave, and knows what to do when you say "turn the page" and "the end." She loves to clap when you say "Yay Ellie!"
She HATES her car seat and will WAIL if in it for more than a few minutes. I'm hoping she outgrows this.
She is an absolute joy to be around, and I love her so much!

And while we are at it, here's what James is up to:
He still LOVES his cars and sleeps with at least one (if not 10) every night. He even stole a few from Papa's house. He doesn't have a specific favorite, they are on a rotating basis I think.
He is 97% potty trained (YAY!)
He gets jealous of his sister a lot and hates to share. He tries to steal any toy Ellie has and will even push her down to keep her away from his stuff (we are working on this).
BUT, he is super sweet with his sister. He gives her hugs and kisses and says, "I love Ewwie" all the time without our prompting.
He loves to sing Jesus Loves Me allllll the time, specifically in the car to "help Ewwie feel better" or at night as he is in his bed going to sleep (we hear it through the monitor). He also sings a number song.
He loves to count. He's pretty much got 1-20 down, and we are working on the others!
His current favorite movie is "The one with the clocks," which is Pinocchio.
His speech has exploded and he will say back any word to throw at him.
He loves to help me cook and gets upset when I cook without him.

That's all I can think of right now... they are busy little beavers!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ellie is 10 months old! STANDING UP!!

My baby girl is 10 months old today. It makes me want to weep just thinking about it... she can't possibly be that old already! Double digits! Craziness!

I realized that I don't take enough cute pics of the kids (ha!) so we headed to the park today to take some. Here is what we came up with:

Ellie 10 month favorites

Ellie is growing by leaps and bounds. This past week she started pulling herself up to stand and now is trying to master balancing so she can move her feet once she's up. She also crawls super fast and puts anything/everything in her mouth.

Ellie loves to play with stacking cups (she actually will nest them on her own) and books that have lift the flaps or pages to turn. She also likes to hand things to me (and then take them back)... she thinks it is a game. Unfortunately, Ellie still has pretty severe separation anxiety and wails when I walk away from her (even if Eliot is with her). This, I'm sure, is what is getting her (and me) up 2-3 times per night still... she realizes I'm not in the room and freaks out.

Even so, during the day she is a happy-go-lucky baby who is pleased as punch to just hang out on the floor and play with whatever. She loooooves her cheerios and has pretty much completely switched over to feeding herself. She also seems to understand a few phrases (like "close the book") and can sign "All done"! And she babbles "ma ma ma ma" when she's sad and wants me. <3 p="">
We are marching towards a year, and I'm just not ready. Someone slow time down, please!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

It finally happened!!

James was accident-free all day today!! We've been giving him a new matchbox car every time he has a success in potty training (nothing else motivates him), and now FINALLY he is getting it, and with minimal waiting! I'm so excited I could go myself lol! It only took about a week and 30 or so matchbox cars, which is cheaper than diapers/pull-ups anyway. We still have a ways to go, he's nowhere near fully trained, but he's doing very well!

One of the unforeseen benefits of him "peeing on the poppy, get a cow!" is that I am teaching him the names of all the classic cars. He in particular likes his Chevy Nova and Mini Cooper and will walk around looking for them and calling them by name. He knows every stinkin' car he owns, which is like 40 by now. And he KNOWS if one is missing! We've spent lots of nights looking for "my new van" or "the daddy car" before he goes to sleep. He definitely has favorites, but no one car is his absolute can't-live-without-it favorite.

Another cute thing he said today, when I was explaining to him how sunscreen works and why it is important, he said,"mommy, I put toothpaste on so I don't get burned!" Because he thought
the sunscreen was a tube of toothpaste! :-) 
That's my boy!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A couple fun things about Ellie and James...

James and Ellie had a doctor's appointment today. They are in general in good health, which we are grateful for. Here are their stats:

James at his 3 year well-baby visit:
Height 37.5" (42nd percentile)
Weight 29 lbs (13th percentile)

Ellie at her 9 month well-baby visit:
Height 26.75" (16th percentile)
Weight 18 lbs (44th percentile)
Head 16.9" (25th percentile)

Some fun things James says (or the way he says them):
Bumum= Button
Bana= Banana
Cows= Cars
Ewwie= Ellie
Ah me ah me ah me= Let me do it
"Ah! The cows are chasing us!" (He thinks the cars are chasing us when we drive places)
"I go wound and wound and get dizzy in the pawking gwage!" (On driving around to find a spot in the parking garage at the doctor's office)
"Daddy get my fan!" (He thinks the new van we are getting is HIS van only.)
"The shoo fly flies around!" (He thinks all flies are called shoo flies since I sang that song to him one too many times...)

Fun new things that Ellie does:
Waves when you say hi and wave to her
Crawls super fast to get whatever she wants
Eats small cut-up food using her pincher fingers
Laughs when you laugh (ok, that's not new, but it sure is cute!)
Turns pages of books
Tries to pull herself up to stand
Says "Mama," "dada", "Gah," "Baba," and a few other babbling words
Eats cheerios like they are going out of style...even ones she finds on the floor. :-/
Snuggles her head into you
Sleeps through the night MORE OFTEN THAN NOT!!! (This is huge, it just started happening this week!)
Splashes in her new little wading pool! :-)